Ending the “no pets” clause: what does this mean for Vancouver landlords?

The R & D Group - Vancouver landlords

Recently, the Vancouver City Council passed a motion to prohibit “no pets” policies in rental contracts. The motion, put forward by Councillors Pete Fry and Jean Swanson, asks Mayor Stewart to:

– ask the province to prohibit “no pets” clauses in rental contracts; and
– ask city staff to research way to curb landlords’ right to refuse rental on the basis of pet ownership.

While there has been some effort to end “no pets” policies throughout the years, the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged momentum. With physical distancing measures in place, many individuals who live alone are battling isolation and anxiety. Bringing a furry friend into the household is something that can help mitigate these mental health concerns. 

The problem is that many Vancouver rental buildings, and individual landlords, prohibit pets. Prohibiting “no pets” policies will change this, making it easier for pet owners to find affordable housing in the city. It will also reduce the amount of pets that are surrendered to the SPCA due to the lack of available housing options.

So what does this mean for Vancouver landlords?

For starters, landlords in Vancouver will no longer be able to refuse a rental to someone because they have or want a pet. While there are undoubtedly many landlords who will oppose this change, there is definitely an opportunity for landlords to attract higher interest from qualified, prospective tenants; generally speaking, pet owners are often more responsible, and are typically more financially stable than the average renter, since they are accustomed to taking care of another living being. 

In 1990, Ontario prohibited “no pets” policies in rental contracts, while still allowing condominiums to set their own restrictions. So far, this change has been positive. Following Ontario’s footsteps, Vancouver hopes to see the same success.

Although the motion has been passed, there has been no change to the Residential Tenancy Act just yet. To help landlords prepare for this change, the Pets OK BC initiative has put together an FAQ with valuable information about renting to pet owners. 

Are you looking to purchase a rental property and would like to learn more about these new changes? Give us a call today and let’s chat.

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